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How to Handle a Shopping Addiction

Updated on February 6, 2019

Sometimes we joke about being a “shopaholic”, but in reality, it can be a real issue for many people. Do you find yourself shopping in store or online when you feel stressed or emotional? Does buying new things make you feel happy? Have you racked up credit card debt because you cannot afford your habit? Do you tend to buy things that you really don’t need? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you may have an addiction to shopping. If your addiction is really bad, you may want to seek professional psychotherapeutic help. However, here are some things you can do to help work on your addiction at home.

Keep Your Receipts

If you are a shopaholic, you likely spend without thinking twice and can easily lose track of all of the stuff you’ve bought. In my own experience, I have found that keeping all my receipts and reflecting on them once a month really helps me think about my purchases. I spend some time in solitary to reflect on these receipts; the total amounts, the items, and the store. Though this didn’t work for me right away, I found that after a few months I would think back to when I had my “receipt reflection” days and become more aware of the purchases that I was making. I even found myself leaving the store altogether and rethinking my purchasing choices!

Track What You Own

This is a tedious one, but so very helpful. I recommend making an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document if you’re not comfortable using Excel. Basically, the idea is to make categories such as beauty, health, entertainment, food, clothing, shoes, hygiene, and so on. Once you have these, start listing out what you already own and the quantities. Make this accessible so that you can look at it before you make a purchase. If you have more than enough, don’t buy it. This can also help when you are making shopping lists for things like toilet paper, toothpaste, deodorant, hair ties, etc.

Avoid the Mall

The mall is the worst place for a shopaholic to be. It is pretty self-explanatory but going to the mall is much too tempting. It can be difficult when a store you need to go to is in the mall, but if possible, avoid it. If you absolutely must go to the mall, bring a friend or family member that is aware of your situation so that they can distract you from temptation. It can also help to give yourself a time limit. I’ve found that when I set an alarm on my phone for 45 minutes, I am reminded that I can’t stay long enough to shop around.

Make Purchases Your Motivation

Train yourself to think that if you don’t spend anything for one month, you can take $200 (or whatever amount fits your budget) and go shopping. It may sound counterproductive but really, the biggest problem for a shopping addict is that shopping and spending is a comfort. This can only work if you feel that you can control your spending to be within the budget you’ve given yourself. If you feel that you would be too tempted to buy more, then do not use this method.

Keep the Credit Cards at Home

Credit cards are like shopping crack. It is so easy to convince yourself in minutes that you can “pay it off later so it’s fine”. When I kept my cards at home, I found myself saving so much money and actually putting a dent into my credit card debt. In fact, my shopping got so bad at one point, that I finally gave my credit cards for my husband to hold on to, so I couldn’t shop online or in store. It really worked well.

Be Real with Yourself

A lot of the times, shopping addicts can find themselves justifying their purchases. I’ve been there completely. There’s the classic line of “there were a lot of needed expenses that I couldn’t afford up front and then life happened and now the card has a lot of debt that will take me forever to pay off”. Though that sounds pretty solid, you also didn’t mention how you spent almost a grand in one hour by buying things you wanted. Which brings me to the second point of this; be realistic about your wants versus needs. You do not need a new TV or a new perfume. You do need toilet paper and deodorant. It’s very easy to justify bad spending habits and that can only end when you finally face reality and start being honest with yourself.

It can also help to have someone to call or see when you want to shop. Find someone who can help and support you. Being addicted to spending and buying is often laughed about but there are many people who need help to overcome the very strong pull swiping a credit card has for them. If this article applied to you, I wish you the best of luck and stay strong. You can do this!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2019 CatG

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